Your customers look at and respond to many different methods of communication. In particular, direct mail can be an excellent addition to your marketing mix. Direct mail is memorable, tactile and, quite literally, gets you into the hands of your customers. Read below for six direct mail design tips which can help craft your next outstanding direct mail piece.
1. Use personalization
Personalization is one of the most powerful tools in direct mail. Each of your direct mail pieces can be personalized to appeal to the preferences of the recipient. Examples of personalization include letters that include the recipient’s first name in the salutation; or a not-for-profit referencing how much a donor has given in the past and encourage them to increase their donation amount by a specified percentage. Personalization can be in the form of text and even images. It can be as specific as sending a postcard with the exact make, model or color of a car that was recently test driven by the recipient at a car dealership. The variety of personalization depends upon the amount of relevant data you have. The more data you have on your recipient’s preferences, the more you can customize each direct mail piece and connect on a more emotional level.
2. Use an eye-catching design
The quality of the graphic design on your direct mail piece is crucial to the effectiveness of your campaign. When someone is sifting through their mail, you want to make sure that your piece stands out with clear messaging, good branding and intelligent design. If it’s not a postcard, the design and messaging on the outer envelope or box of your direct mail piece is even more important than what’s inside! Afterall, the recipient needs to open the envelope before they can learn more about your message.
3. Include a call to action
A call to action, or CTA, is a line of text that prompts your reader to take an action. It’s crucial to include a call to action in your direct mail piece to guide your readers to the next part of your sales process. Examples of calls to action that you can include are, “Hurry, Call Now!”, “Mail Your Donation Today”, “Schedule an Appointment”, “Scan this QR Code” or “Visit Our Website to…”. Make your call to action short, easy to understand and one of the most prominent pieces of text on your direct mail piece. There should also be a level of urgency to respond. Deadlines, limited time, limited quantities or gifts help facilitate response.
4. Plan with postage regulations in mind
Postage can be the largest expense in a direct mail campaign. By keeping postage regulations and specifications in mind while you are designing and planning your direct mail piece, you can likely save a considerable amount of money in postage fees.
Here are some money saving tips:
- If you are sending flat, single sheet pieces, 6”x4.25” postcards or smaller can take advantage of postcard postage rates which are less than a standard first class stamp. There are minimum size and aspect ratio parameters to follow or you will incur an additional surcharge or risk your postcard being rejected or returned.
- If you are looking to send mail near your business, you can take advantage of the USPS’s Every Door Direct Mail program. This allows you to choose a geographic area within 5 miles of your business and send a piece of mail to every household, or every household and business, in the area at a highly discounted rate.
- Consider the speed of your mailing. If you allow ample time for mailing your campaign, you can use bulk-rate (also called standard class) postage, which is cheaper but slower to arrive to your recipients. Standard class is another way to save money on postage if your mailing is not time sensitive since the range in delivery time can be extreme.
5. Test and refine
Every direct mail campaign should include some level of testing to help improve your results. Testing with a minimum of 1,000 pieces makes the most sense. This testing allows you to find out what is working best and what is not so you can continually work to improve your direct mail results. Variables that can be tested include outer envelope design or messaging, your promotion, your call to action, or items as small as color or small design changes. Testing two slightly different campaigns at the same time, to different but similar audiences will reveal which campaign is better. The “winning” campaign will now become your “control” for larger mailings as you continue to test new direct mail campaigns that can “beat” your control.
6. Amplify your direct mail campaign with other marketing channels
Direct mail is only one marketing channel that you can use to deliver your promotion and message. Use your direct mail creative and apply it to other related marketing initiatives such as in-store promotions, email marketing, social media marketing or traditional advertising. Different consumers respond to different channels and it’s always better to communicate your message and promotion through as many channels as possible.